The way in which radical reform of the teaching profession promised by Ministers will be achieved is outlined in a consultation package on teacher support. The package sets out the role of support staff and defines standards for the new higher level teaching assistants. The aim is to allow teachers to spend more time teaching and motivating pupils so that they become ‘learning managers’. Learning will become more individualized allowing the more able to progress at a quicker pace while the less able are given greater support.The package includes a consultation document on the respective roles of support staff and teacher as well as a document on proposed standards for the higher level teaching assistants which has been developed by the Teacher Training Agency. The document makes it clear that teachers and teaching assistants are not interchangeable and that teachers must make the lead contribution to teaching and learning. Teaching assistants must operate under the direction and supervision of a qualified teacher.
The package was developed in collaboration with the teacher’s unions and other public sector unions. Publication of the package ahead of the union conference season will allow unions to consult their membership. It is planned that the contractual changes will come into effect at the start of the new academic year in September 2003.
An expansion of teacher training has also been announced. Some 50 schools will be awarded training school status, bringing the total across England to over 130.